Sunday, 4th June 2023

Sincerity, commitment are required for Nigerians to support their leaders

By Chris Irekamba
26 March 2023   |   4:49 am
Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Ishagatedo, Isolo, Lagos, Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Venerable Oluwaseun Bolatito Dokunmu is the Vicar of the church and also the Archdeacon/Administrator of Isolo Archdeaconry


Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Ishagatedo, Isolo, Lagos, Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Venerable Oluwaseun Bolatito Dokunmu is the Vicar of the church and also the Archdeacon/Administrator of Isolo Archdeaconry. In this interview with CHRIS IREKAMBA, he highlights the importance of its three-day crusade running from March 29 to 31, 2023 at the Open Field of Saint Paul’s Primary School at 5:30pm daily. He also spoke on the forthcoming Easter celebration and what the incoming government should do for Nigerians, among other issues.

Can you expatiate on the theme and what it means to worshippers?
The three-day crusade is tagged: “Great Prophetic Crusade,” with the theme: “The Most High God,” taken from Psalm 83:18. Psalm 97:9 says: “For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth; thou art exalted far above the gods.” What we should understand is that, God is higher than all of us. One of the Nigerian preachers described God as: “Higher than the highest. Bigger than the biggest and taller than the tallest.” Another important thing is that God loves us and He wants us to have fellowship with Him. He wants us to develop a kind of relationship with Him. He has prepared a way for us in heaven and every Nigerian must try to enter heaven because we have a lot troubles in Nigeria and if a Nigerian misses heaven that will be disastrous.

What benefit can Nigerians derive from this crusade?
If you look at the phrase: “The Most High God,” you will understand from the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, we are told that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now God is the source, He is the origin, He is the manufacturer of everything and if you look at that word God from the Hebrew word, it means Elohim and it was first used by Abraham when he had encounter with Melchizedek, the high priest of God. So, the actual Hebrew word used here is Elyon. Melchizedek requested blessing from this God — Elyon. Now, we have God being called the Most High in several parts of the Bible, for instance, in Psalm 7:10, and Psalm 57:2 you will see God being called the Most High and in Psalm 78, He is called the Most High too, but I need to refer our readers to Hosea 11:7 and it says: “My people have determined to turn from me even though they called me God’s Most High, I will no means exalt them.”

Now, let me bring the scripture to our society. In our contemporary world, we value material things than God. If you look at the way people pursue material things, you will agree with me that people have placed material things above God. They have forgotten that God is the source; He is the creator, He is the manufacturer and giver of everything. Instead of running after the creator, we are running after the things that were created by the Creator. Many of us have forgotten that everything in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. We want to use this programme to take the hearts of the people back to their Maker. So, this crusade focuses on how to take the souls of the people back to their God. We want people to focus more on God and not on the politicians because politicians make a lot of political statements, which they do not fulfill. But God is a covenant keeper and not a covenant breaker. Whenever God says something, He will surely keep His word. We want to bring people to the part of God and let them know that God is enough for us; we should worship and serve Him.

If you look at what is happening in our society today, you will be grateful to God. The Central Bank fiscal policy was a very good one, but it was badly executed. I listened to one clip sent to my WhatsApp from a particular state that people should attend a political rally and the politician sent N2,000 into their account. What will N2,000 do for a family man in Nigeria? Many people, for the sake of money, have compromised their faith. This shows the level of poverty in the land. As a matter of fact, only few people now worship God sincerely. I am sorry to say this; I observed something when I travelled to the United Kingdom, people over there serve God, not because of what they will get or gain, but to cement their relationship with Him. It is not the same thing here because we are poorly treated, but over there, they are well treated. Everything works well — their transportation system, the economy and they have enough food to go round for their citizens. People are not treated well in this part of the world, which is why many are compromising their faith.

How can the sincere believer benefit from the programme?
The Bible says, “believe the prophet” and I want to appeal to the people of God to first of all, believe God and believe the man of God that we have invited to speak at the crusade. We want them to also activate their faith because without faith no one can please God. This equally means that without faith you cannot receive from God. It is one thing to attend the crusade and another thing to be impacted on or to be touched. So, we want our people to put their faith to the test; believe God and believe the man of God that is coming. The people must also come with great expectations because if you do not expect, you can never get. The Bible says the expectation of the righteous shall never be cut short. So, they must be expectant to receive healing, miracles, deliverance, among other things.

One good thing is that God knows our intentions, desires, weaknesses and inner thoughts. He knows what we need. So, if anybody is confused let him/her come to the Most High and allow Him to be in charge of his/her life, because He is the only way.

Who are the ministers expected at the event?
We have invited the Archdeacon of Iyana Ipaja Archdeaconry and Vicar of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ipaja, Lagos, Venerable Blessing Ajayi, as our guest preacher. He is an anointed man of God, a true child of God and an evangelist. For song ministration, we have invited the Parish Choir and Youth Choir. Sammy Praise and Emmanuel Iloka will lead us in praises, while other ministers will handle the prayer session including our priests.

How is your Archdeaconry helping its members to overcome the current cash crush caused by CBN fiscal policy?
Observing the effect the policy is having on our people, I announced in the church that members should not run away from their Creator because they cannot give their offerings. We developed a food bank and announced that parishioners in need of food should approach the welfare committee headed by Mrs. Tokunbo and chaplain, Rev. Abiola to get some provisions. We did not emphasise much on money during our services. We tried to encourage our people and preached the gospel of hope, restoration and salvation. We tried to reassure them through our sermons and prayer points that all shall be well. The two work hand-in-hand. We did not only preach or pray, but also ministered material things to the people. This is in accordance to what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34, 35. There is something called holistic gospel; you just do not pray for people in need and ask them to go, you have to minister to their materials needs as well. That is how I believe it should be done.

Few days from now, Christians will be celebrating Easter, what is your message to Christians and Nigerians in general?
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. If He has not risen, our faith would have been in vain. The message of salvation is that Jesus Christ came for all, irrespective of tribe, colour or gender. An offer has been given to the entire world; we must embrace that offer of redemption. My Easter message is that all of us should embrace the salvation given to us. It is when we embrace the salvation that other things will follow. That you are saved does not mean that you are not going to encounter problems or difficulties. So, Psalm 103 still comes to place in our lives; He is ready to heal all our diseases, He redeems us from destruction, He is ready to crown our years with loving-kindness. He is also ready to satisfy our mouths with good things. People may be saying there is no money and job out there, but because God is the source, He can use family members, believers and unbelievers to bless us. But we must first of all embrace the gift of salvation. It is when you are interested in the things that please God that God will be interested in the things that please you.

What is your advice for the President-elect, governors and others just elected into different offices?
The incoming government should try and get it right. So, if it is power supply that they want to fix, let them do it well. If it is security, let them fix it properly. If it is the economy, let them do it well. We are tired of political statements from politicians; they talk a lot, but do not implement what they say. This is the time for implementation.

So, my appeal to the President-elect, governors and national assembly members is that they should get one or two things right. Nigerians want to see things work again in the country. If they are sincere and committed on their own part, Nigerians are ready to support them. We must respect our laws. I just came back from the UK and there you would see a man on bicycle obeying traffic rules, not a car, but a bicycle! The law is not meant for some individuals, it is for everybody, therefore, the day we start to obey our laws, Nigeria will work. They should rule by example and above all, they should fear God. Our leaders must know that it is God that put them in that position of authority.